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Monday, November 14, 2005

Internationals' injury jinx strikes another Arsenal victim

Gael Clichy (a suspected fractured foot) looks set to now join Sol Campbell (twice), Alex Hleb, RVP, Freddie Ljungberg (indirectly- he has been injured twice in the opening minutes of games immediately following international week) and Thierry Henry (re-aggravating a groin injury minutes after wonder goal in Ireland) as casualties- this season alone- of an international week.

Add Gilberto's unavailability if he has been playing in South America for Brazil's World Cup qualifiers, and it accumulates to Wenger now regularly counting the cost of international matches in terms of the faltering strength of the first-team line-up.

Against this negative context, the one positive to flow out of the mistaken omission of two-time World cup select squad nomination, Sol Campbell, from the starting line against Argentina, was to spare him from a potential third successive injury in an England shirt.

Each of the three matches after the international break has seen Arsenal play away from home without players who had featured the game before the break. Add the lack of match preparation time for Wenger to hone the team to the unique Arsenal groove, and the damaging result (although should not have been the inevitable result) has been successive defeats.

This time around the majority of international teams do not have midweek matches so Arsene will have the whole week to prepare the team, as well as fresher players to choose from: ingredients which should inspire a good result at Wigan (subject to further announcement of new Arsenal injuries!).

Pascal Cygan will probably be drafted in to replace Cole/Clichy- especially with the excellent Senderos playing in Turkey on Wednesday night and therefore unlikely to be considered fresh enough to play a lunchtime kick-off in Wigan. My thoughts on Pascal in the centre-back position have been published before (fair to say not a great fan), but he has less capacity to cause catastrophic errors at left back than in the centre of defence. Anyways, as Arsene has unending faith in Pascal, than I guess I should have some faith in him too.

After the Wigan match, should the predominantly left-footed Senderos be considered as an emergency left-back a'la Gallas? Or is the versatile, but right-footed, Toure a better suit for this role than either Cygan or Senderos?

The low-intensity match at FC Thun next week will be the perfect occasion to experiment with either of these latter options.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt we'll see anyone but Cygan out there. Wigan will be tough; hopefully they'll have lost their form over the two weeks. I have no idea if Gilbert or Garry are ready, but they should be given a chance.

11/14/2005 10:16 pm

Blogger T said...

I'm not so sure about throwing in either Gilbert or Garry. Neither of these defenders featured in the Carling Cup match at Sunderland- which indicates neither is considered by Wenger to be ready.

I hope Garry makes a full recovery from the shin injury that has sidelined him for TWO whole seasons. I saw him play in the 6-1 defeat of Soton at the end of the 2002-2003 season (start of the 49ers unbeaten run!) and was impressed by his pace and commanding presence in the defence... but he has not played since then apart from two reserve games this season.

Gilbert looks a very promising prospect but is primarily a right back. I like the fact he has captaincy experience... suggesting he has the right mindset to go along with talent. One to look out for in 18-24 months.

11/15/2005 12:08 pm

Blogger T said...

Nice quote by reserve team coach, Neil Banfield, on the promise of Kerrea Gilbert:

"Kerrea’s a tough lad, he’s doing well at full-back and if he keeps working at his game, who knows how far he will go or end up? He’s done ever so well."

This is a young player to watch out for.

11/15/2005 1:21 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I sympathise with the Gunners. Another injury after international week must have left Wenger fuming even more. Would Sam Allardyce's suggestion of FIFA compensation have made for suitable consolation? It would go some way to make up absences. Though FIFA could say to a club whose player/s are too injured to appear for internationals that the clubs should compensate for those miising players.

The crux is the players are contracted to the club and appear through honour for country. Therefore if injured, while away from their contractual duties, they must be cared for and in an event where they are injured comepsnation should be made. FIFA would prefer such compensation to be made via the respective football associations. Football associations would argue they have no contractual obligation to the players.

FIFA should, therefore, agree to create an 'International Players' Compensation Scheme', a panel of board members who consider claims and, upon successful adjudication for claimants, make a payment for the period a player is out of action. Obviously agreements have to be implemented internationally, but one principle could be the board makes a payment to coincide partly with that paid by the club to the player, perhaps 25% or 50%.

I think it would be a good start, and could allay some fears managers have when their players go away on international duty. Surely it is important, it is a positive thought. Arsenal are now without their main and 2nd choice left-backs, a position where such an absence could cost them good progress.


11/15/2005 4:10 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete.....says. Here we go again. Another left back injury and the great debate is on. "Who do we pick ". For me there is only one sane choice, 'Senderos', but Im sure AW will use Cygan. This means either our whole team will be nervous and happy to win a point, or, with Philipe, we will shut them out and convert at least two of our usual 10 chances. Whoever is chosen, he has got to do the business for about another 5 weeks......Oh Blimey ?????

11/15/2005 8:11 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right t, I wasn't thinking straight. I like GunnerPete's suggestion, allowing Senderos a run in the team and as a better alternative to Cygan. However, he might struggle against the pace of some wingers, even with him sitting back much more than Clichy or Cole would. I would prefer trying Eboue there or having Sol and Phil in the middle with Kolo on the left.

For once, I think something has come out of Fat Sam's mouth besides hot air. However, the devil would be in the details. How much would each association pay? It wouldn't be fair for say Benin's association to have to pay the same amount as the English FA. Would they pay according to the sum of players' salaries? Again, African nations would have difficulty here. And I'm sure clubs would be wary of releasing that information. I suspect that sooner or later the G14 group will push the issue.

11/16/2005 3:20 am

Blogger T said...

Thanx Redsman, GunnerPete and Anon... hopefully Arsene will try out either Kolo or Senderos on the left against Thun.

As for the discussion on compensation: I don't think football associsations should be made to pay out every time there is an injury. First, it can't adequately remedy the lost of a player from the pitch. Second, clubs should accept costs of international action as much as the benefits of their players gaining international experience. And third as anon points out, some FA's will be unable to afford the compensation.

11/16/2005 11:18 am

Anonymous Anonymous said... bet is on Eboue for the left! He's got enough pace...and is in the mould of Toure - a tough cookie!

Senderos would be a little ponderous unfortuantely...

Kerra Gilbert is certainly somebody to watch out for...he's looking good! But another player I've heard might do OK is Sebastian Larsson...would be be suitable back on the left? Or even Flamini?

A good poser..but obviously...a little late! Good luck on Sunday Gunners!

11/17/2005 1:18 pm

Blogger T said...

No probs about coming late on the discussion anon. I remember Larsson played at left back when our youth team won in the Carling cup match at Man City last season.. but as he's a midfielder I have doubts that Wenger would play him there in Premiership matches... but he's definitely a player to watch out for!

Your description of Eboue is spot-on, but I would prefer a player who is comfortable on the left side of the pitch to be at ledt-back... and I doubt if Eboue has this experience? Oh boy, its going to be interesting to see who AW picks for the matches at Wigan and Thun!

Get well soon Gael and Ash!

11/17/2005 5:15 pm


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